Govt nod for tribunal on Mahadayi dispute

The Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has decided that the tribunal would consist of a chairman and two members. The meeting also decided to request the Chief Justice of India to appoint the chairman and two members of the tribunal from among the sitting judges of the Supreme Court or a High Court.

The tribunal, which has been demanded by Goa, can be termed a major set back to Karnataka as it has been opposing any such move by the Centre saying it would prolong the issue.

Karnataka had planned to utilise 7.56 tmc feet of water from Kalasa and Banduri tributaries of Mahadayi to meeting drinking water scarcity in around 100 area of northern Karnataka, including Hubli and Dharward.

The Centre had given in-principle clearance for the project in April 2002 considering the water diversion for drinking water purpose. Subsequently, the Centre’s Water Resources Ministry kept the clearance in abeyance following objections from Goa, which claimed that Mahadayi was a deficit basin and water diversion would impact on the environment in the basin.

Though the Centre had convened several meetings of the basin states, a resolution of the dispute was not forthcoming as Goa stuck to its demand for a tribunal.

Mahadayi originates in Karnataka, flows 29 kilometres through the state and passes through Maharashtra and Goa where its length is 52 km, before reaching the Arabian Sea. A Central Water Commission report claimed that the yield in Mahadayi was 200 tmc. Karnataka’s share is estimated at 45 tmc, of which the state is seeking only 7.5 tmc for drinking water purposes.

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